TechMGM, a Chamber initiative created to coordinate a diverse array of partners’ efforts around developing Montgomery’s tech and innovation ecosystem, now has a new arm: The Lab on Dexter. This state-of-the-art facility fronts historic Dexter Avenue downtown, and it provides a collaborative learning environment where it invites individuals and small businesses to lease space and take advantage of a calendar that’s packed with networking events, workshops and training classes, all focused on building and supporting local talent, small businesses and entrepreneurs.
According to The Lab’s Executive Director Dr. Nichole Thompson, one of The Lab’s main roles is to meet the needs of the area’s existing small businesses as well as budding entrepreneurs and startups. “During the Covid Relief Recover Together Initiative, we witnessed a large number of small businesses unable to fully benefit from the federal government’s financial assistance. Much of this was due to deficits in documentation and business structure,” she said. A large portion of The Lab’s programming and events is designed to “close this gap.” Thompson shared examples. “We have partnered with the Small Business Development Center in the launching of a small business cohort aimed at supporting the technology infrastructure of small businesses, and most recently, we announced our partnership with EdFarm,” she said.
Establishing Montgomery as a center of innovation and diversifying the local economy are among Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed’s priorities for the capital city, and The Lab is proving an essential player. “As we work to support the mayor’s visions of strengthening our foundation and broadening our expectations around the knowledge-based economy, tech startups, small business support and Black business initiatives, The Lab on Dexter plays a critical role in providing access and the latitude needed for emerging talent,” Thompson said.
This year, The Lab promises expanded programming and events. In March, The Lab will launch its first Co-Starters Cohort. “It’s a community of small business owners that will be educated on the essentials to thriving in business,” Thompson said. And that’s the key takeaway from The Lab’s first few months in operation: This hub is providing a slew of options and opportunities — all underpinned by a commitment to developing and bolstering small businesses and startups — to set Montgomery up for sustainable economic prosperity.
UP TO THE TASK
THE LAB ON DEXTER IS RELYING ON A COMBO OF TOOLS TO ACCOMPLISH ITS GOALS.
- EDUCATE the community with the latest training and tools.
- INNOVATE with partners across the social and tech innovation ecosystem.
- COLLABORATE with community members to create innovative solutions.
- ACCELERATE small businesses with training, resources and technology tools to grow their business.
- INCUBATE small businesses by providing small business suites and co-working space.
Since its opening, The Lab has already hosted multiple events and training sessions to help small businesses and entrepreneurs reach their potential.
- Wine Down Wednesdays and Throwback Thursdays
- Tech-centric activities: The Lab welcomed local students, educators and tech professionals.
- Building Business Block: This series of educational events extends through February and is designed to ensure small businesses and start-ups have access to the resources and basic information necessary to thrive.
STAY IN THE KNOW
The Lab’s co-working space is available via monthly memberships and daily rates. Also watch The Lab’s website and social media channels to stay up to date on events and to find ways you and your business can get involved.